Just because some people believe it when Republicans and oil companies say climate change is not real, it doesn’t mean that nature is going to toe the political line.
In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, it’s impossible to miss the message the planet is sending; rising ocean temperatures and sea levels are breeding gigantic, destructive storms. And they may be becoming the new normal.
In the Washington Post, Brown University professor Elizabeth Rush explains how the roseate spoonbill, a wading bird that was once a staple of the Florida Keys, abandoned the island chain about a decade ago, when rising sea levels threatened its shallow water breeding grounds. The birds moved to higher ground, further north and inland. Rush writes, “When the spoonbills realized it was no longer possible to live on the Florida Keys, they left.”
But humans are not as intuitive as the spoonbills. Storm after storm, rather than leave their flooded neighborhoods and roof-less homes, they rebuild in the same place.
Part of the blame for that repeated folly rests on the shoulders of the federal government. FEMA’s national flood insurance program requires people to rebuild at the same location, rather than offering an option to rebuild in a less flood-prone location. To make matters even worse, storm victims are not always required to rebuild more storm resistant homes.
The people who live in flood prone areas like Houston, Louisiana, and south Florida may one day get tired of losing everything they have in monster storms, rebuilding, then losing it all again in the next giant storm. At some point, they may realized they’re fighting a battle with nature they will never win, no matter how many times Republicans and oil companies tell them everything is just fine and climate change is not a ‘thing.’
Human beings are an arrogant lot when it comes to spitting in Mother Nature’s face. However, reality is playing catch-up and it’s not pretty. As a species, people have no more physical power now than they did when homo-sapiens took their first upright steps. What has changed is the technology humanity has learned to harness. Yet despite our abilities to communicate, compute, make war, and mass produce our modern-day conveniences, we have failed to comprehensively address the by-products of our technical achievements – namely the pollution and disruption of our ecosystems that we’re inflicting on the planet.
There are, of course, people who believe that we can simply go on forever dumping tons of plastic into our oceans, filling our water with industrial waste, and poisoning our air with toxic gases without making parts of earth uninhabitable. There are also people who know that we have already passed at least some points of no return when it comes to climate change.
The newly converted global warming ‘believers’ might well be found in the paths of Irma and Harvey. Now all they have to do is admit it in public, then take it to a voting booth in their new, inland neighborhoods. Because people can’t live underwater, nature always wins, and climate change-denying Republicans are full of shit.
Maryann Tobin is the author of “Afterlife: The Journey Of A Dog’s Spirit” This heartwarming story is told through the eyes of an animal spirit that has been sent back to earth in the body of a small dog. His mission is to help a young woman discover that their destinies are connected to the powers of the Spirit World more than either of them ever imagined. If you’ve ever shared your life with a dog or any other pet, you will never look at them the same way again after reading this book. It’s available now on Amazon.com.